The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has described the student loan scheme of the Federal Government as a plan to enrich a few individuals who own private universities in the country.
The National President of ASUU, Emmanuel Osodeke, represented by his deputy, Christopher Piwuna, disclosed this while speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the award of scholarship to undergraduate students in Bauchi Zone of the union held at the ATBU, Yelwa Campus, on Saturday.
He noted that if the government was sincere in its intentions, the proposed student loan should be made a grant instead of a loan.
Osodeke said: “Right from the start, we believe that the Nigerian state is capable of funding education in Nigeria. All these issues that have led to the introduction of the loan, the issues of charges in our universities, are as a result of poor funding. So, this particular effort by the government is supposed to meet that funding gap in the universities.
“We believe that with discipline, the Nigerian state can fund education adequately. From recent happenings in the country, where, for instance, one member of the National Assembly can take just a part of his allowances would include a N160 million, is a clear sign that if the Nigerian state is serious, it can fund education.
“The leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, I think, tried to demonstrate that, when his administration agreed to release N200 billion in 2013 as part of the NEEDS Assessment and till this day, 10 years after the release of that money, we still see what that money is doing in this system.
“Just imagine if the government takes this funding seriously. So, we are against the student loan as a form of funding education, we think the loan will go back into the pocket of private individuals who are in government today who own private universities. If the government is serious, they should make grants to institutions and students”.